January is finally here and that means out with the old and in with the new. On your way to a less cluttered home, what do you do with the things you no longer want or need?
If decluttering the house is on your to do list this month, here are a few items to repurpose this year instead of tossing them in the trash. Go green, save money, and use things again!
Empty Glass Jars
Whether they are mason jars or just empty spaghetti sauce jars, reuse them instead of tossing them in the glass recycling bin.
Mason jars are a great way to bring your salad to work or make overnight oats to store in the refrigerator. Use those empty glass jars with lids to store dry goods in the pantry. Just wash them well and let dry completely. Then, fill with rice, beans, or other grains and lentils.
Cereal bag liners
From lining cookie sheets when baking your next batch of cookies to using it as a disposable piping bag for frosting, cereal bag liners are incredibly useful. Just keep them folded up and out of the way until you need to use them.
Those buttery papers that your sticks of butter come wrapped in make great separators for premade burger patties.
Egg cartons are an amazingly useful household item! If you are a gardener, use cardboard egg cartons for seed starting. You can also use them to sort craft supplies for kids or to organize your junk drawer. Each egg container space is a great place for push pins or loose change.
Old newspapers have a million different uses. Ball them up and stuff them in shoes to absorb odor or to help dry out wet boots. You can also make them into homemade fire starters or wrap breakable items that need to be stored long term.
Old floor tiles
Have extra floor tiles lying around from your latest home remodeling project? Turn those leftover tiles into a new art project.
You can break up the tiles into small pieces and make a mosaic on the top of an old table. This is a great way to use several different types of tiles when you only have a few of each variety.
Are you (or your kids) sentimentally attached to their old tshirts? Turn them into a tshirt blanket that they will treasure for years to come. If you don’t have enough for a blanket, turn one or two into a throw pillow for their bed.
Toilet paper tubes
Of course, those cardboard tubes inside the roll of toilet paper are great for kids crafts, however, they are also wonderful for keeping cords organized or for making homemade fire starters for your outdoor fire pit.
Old cheese graters
Have a box cheese grater you no longer use? Turn it into an earring holder for dangly earrings. Just paint it, add some decorative elements like beads or flowers, and then hang the earrings in each separate hole.
Plastic grocery bags
While everyone should try to remember their reusable bags, inevitably, we forget and come home with a few plastic ones instead. Reuse them as packing material the next time you ship a box. No need to buy packing peanuts or bubble wrap!
From wrapping birthday gifts to storing craft items, old shoe boxes are amazingly useful. Just cover them with pretty wrapping paper if you want to see something more attractive than the store name or shoe brand logo.
Old shower curtains
While you may think your old shower curtain is useless, it will make a great drop cloth when the kids pull out the finger paint. You can also use it as an outdoor tablecloth for your next summer BBQ.
Did you get some new cookie sheets for Christmas? Turn that old one into a drip catcher for your houseplants.
Just add a nice coat of paint to match your décor and place it on the table underneath your plants. You add a pop of color while protecting your furniture at the same time.
Have broken clay flowerpots lying around? Turn them into a toad house for your garden. Just set the pot upside down on the ground so that a small ‘door’ allows the toad to sneak in under the pot. Toads are great for gardens since they eat the pests that like to feast on your produce.
Have a collection of old bottle caps? Turn them into bottle cap magnets for the refrigerator. Just paint them bright colors and add a small magnet to the inside. Then, use them to hold your child’s artwork on the refrigerator.
Have an old muffin tin lying around? Use it to turn old crayons into new crayons for your children. Just take the paper off all those broken crayons your kids have. Throw a few into the muffin tin and place it in a warm (not hot!) oven until they are melted. Let them cool and remove from the tin. Voila! New round crayons for your kids!
Have old windows lying around? Turn them into a small greenhouse for your yard. Combine several together as shown on This Old House . Then, you can plant lettuce in the winter, and it will be protected from the snow!
Have a few old CDs lying around? Use them as accents in your garden. Just hang from string near your garden to scare off deer and other garden animals. The spinning and flashing colors help protect your veggies from hungry critters.
Mesh vegetable bags
You know those mesh bags your oranges come in? Don’t throw them away! Just ball it up and use it to scrub your next dirty pot.
Empty milk jugs
Those old milk jugs have a ton of different uses. Rinse well with soap and water. Punch a few holes in the top with a nail. Then, fill with water and use it as a watering can for your plants.
As we move into a new year, I encourage you to look for ways to reduce waste, live more sustainably, and invest in a few reusable products to save money.
Remember, every baby step counts on the road to green living!